Make Music with Your Life—A Poem for a Retiring Teacher

By Elaine Magliaro

I’m dedicating this post to my “cyber” friend Blouise—who is a true music afficiando.

I had the great fortune to work at an elementary school that had many exceptional teachers. One of them was Valerie. “Val” taught music at the Malcolm Bell School in Marblehead, Massachusetts, for many years. She retired in 2011—seven years after I did. For nearly a quarter of a century, she helped music come alive for the children in her classroom.

I wanted to do something special for Valerie’s retirement party to show her how much I appreciated all that she had done to make music an integral part of our students’ elementary education. So…I wrote a poem for her that came from my heart. That poem is called a cento.

NOTE: Cento comes from the Latin word for “patchwork.” The cento is a poetic form made up of lines from poems written by other poets.


A Poem for Valerie

by Elaine Magliaro


There is music in me,

Music of melting sky,

A symphony,

The voice of magic melody

And a stretch of song

Rippling like piano keys

With a medley of horns, bassoons, piccolos

All softly playing.



I get way down in the music.

My heart hears every note.

Each note rings

So silvery.

The beat gets in my blood.

The music fuels my feet.

I dance to the beat…

Dance out the door.

I have a secret power, and

I can fly to where the sky begins.



In sweet music is such art.

Make music with your life.


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6 Responses to Make Music with Your Life—A Poem for a Retiring Teacher

  1. Mike Spindell says:


    A simply beautiful poem which must have made Valerie proud of her accomplishments.

  2. blouise says:


    From the heart to the heart. 🙂

    Madam … your carriage awaits and freedom is yours. I only ask that when you see this little old lady at the side of the road, you pick her up and take her along.

  3. swarthmoremom says:

    Nice….. I had an opportunity to go to a night of poetry reading a few weeks ago. My former boss, who later became a judge, has taken up poetry and was reading at the event.

  4. blouise says:


    I used to attend poetry readings at the bookstores and library but there are fewer and fewer opportunities now

  5. Nate says:

    Is there a beauty as beautiful as a dream?
    Is there a truth sweeter than hope?

    From the foreign film “Les Choristes.The Chorus (2004).”

    One of my favorites.

  6. James Knauer says:

    Thanks, Elaine! REALLY digging the musical notation!

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